How to crush those pesky period cramps
Imagine you’re on a mountain hike and instead of getting a sprain on your ankle, you feel it in your tummy instead. Or, imagine you’re in the middle of a boxing ring – with your tummy used as a punching bag. If you suffer from period cramps (also known as menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea), it can cramp your style. But what causes it? Is it healthy or normal to feel pain during your periods? What do you do if the pain leaves you unable to even do simple tasks with ease?
Firstly, you aren’t alone in this. About half the women in the entire world will suffer from period cramps at some point. Read on to find out more about what are period cramps and what to do when that familiar painful throb starts to bother you.
What causes those couch-curling period cramps?
During the first few days of your period, you might experience cramps. The cramps are usually caused by a hormone called prostaglandins, which helps kick-off your period. The hormone causes your tummy to contract, making it easier for the extra fluffy lining that your uterus has built up, and egg, to exit your body in the form of your period.
Period cramps are not the same as PMS cramps or pain. PMS will affect you a little before your period begins and improves when you have it, but period cramps usually begin as soon you get it
Be prepared for that period cramp attack
Period cramps usually kick-off right before your period and are at their worst at the start of your period. Cramps may affect you more than how they affect your mom or older sister, as cramps become less painful with age. You may also experience pain in your lower back and thighs. You could feel nauseous, dizzy, and bloated. Ask your mom if she had cramps when she was younger as period cramps can be inherited, so you can be extra prepared for yours.
For those Netflix-no-chill times
If you find yourself curling up on the couch with gritted teeth due to debilitating pain - we feel you. Here’s what you can do to fight back that period pain:
1. Kick that pain – where it hurts
10 minutes of gentle exercise is definitely better than none. Why? Because the pain of period cramps can be reduced by encouraging healthy blood flow in the circulatory system.
2. Go for a slow walk
When those natural feel-good hormones of endorphins get released, you’ll feel a world of a difference. Or, take a leisurely stroll with a friend. That’s what friends are for!
3. Do some gentle yoga exercises
If you’re feeling up to it, start with gentle breathing exercises. There’s nothing like a soothing sesh of Yoga to get your calmness quotient up. Try the child’s pose. It looks so peaceful too.
4. Meditate for 30 minutes
Put on some headphones with your favourite chill music. Or stream a silly rom-com. Some slapstick comedy podcasts could also do the trick. Finally, you can put those perfumed candles to good use.
5. Use a hot-water bottle
Cuddle up to a water bottle or a heat pack. To relax your muscles, you need to apply heat on your lower tummy or back. Even a long hot water bath will help.
The advice provided in this material is general in nature and is not intended as medical advice. If you need medical advice, please consult your doctor.